Sunday, April 23, 2006


Now why on earth would one publish a post about rojak in the first place? Well to those of you fortunate enough to be still living in M'sia or S'pore, you will not understand my love affair with rojak or with any other local food. Fellow countrymen who somehow find themselves living (or was previously living) overseas at the moment, I echo your sentiments or longing or saliva dripping experience once we step into the food we miss at home discussion, pictures etc.

Just today I was happily doing my stitching when suddenly I felt like having rojak! The familiar taste, smell and texture of the dish starts to overwhelm me. But instead of day dreaming about it, I went to make dinner as I thought that I'm just hungry. Being hungry, I was not in a state to day dream about M'sian food as I know myself, I'll "blame" me (and hubby) for being here in the first place!

My home made rojak! YUMMY......

Did the urge for rojak went away after dinner? NO!! So browse the net I did for rojak sauce recipes. Good thing is I still have some left over ingredients and some dry stuff I stock up. I was so happy to find I still have cucumber, hoisin sauce, peanuts (leftover from making Thai chicken salad) and some pears. I know, I know it seems wired to make the sauce in a very different way. Instead of using belacan or hae ko (black shrimp paste), I use hoisin sauce. What to do? Can not find them here what! If can find also, the smell could remind in our apartment for days. Unless of course I "make" my mum send them (the dry type) over! hehehehe... I can imagine the post people delivering belacan to me; wearing a gas mask in full white overalls, like the ones they'd wear while treating nuclear/dangerous disease!!

You might have notice I'm just using pears and cucumbers instead of the usual guava, pineapple, mango etc, as the rojak fruit/veggies. Well, when you're desperate ANY hard fruit/veggies will do! Its really been a long time since I've had rojak; since last year June! So I guess anyone could understand.

Besides eating rojak (and other local goodies) brings back many happy memories; sharing the dish and fighting with my sister for the last bit of it, going out to pasar malam with friends just to get it and many more.... I think you can say that I'm homesick from time to time. I'm actually missing having familiar company while having my meals, be it M'sian or mat salleh food. I've always believe that it is the company that makes any dish more enjoyable, delicious and close to the heart. I can't wait till the full swing of summer hits Switzerland! Then I can make the "real" satay bbq outdoors complete with sauce, ketupat, timun and bawang merah!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Between customer service and the customer being no. 1

Recently I've read somewhere on the online Malaysian paper on the topic of customer service and somewhere also about the customer being the "king". Well, being a consumer these days we're repeatedly being served sub-standard service, be it from the waitress, receptionists, telephone operators, sales assistants to the nurses, doctors, car dealers, consultants, bank teller etc. Its that, we're being either "followed" as though that we're stealing OR "ignored" as though we're thin air. There's no form of greeting, forcing a simple smile, using simple polite words like please, thank you, you're welcome, please come again (its all being printed on the receipt these days).

I agree whole heartedly that we ought to think the customers as kings/queens in their own right as they are the ones paying out wages and the very reason that we even have a job! Yours sincerely for one was working in a hotel and restaurant for some years now, and did I ever mentioned that tips will be very generous even when the use of simple gestures or words? I occasionnally recieve gifts from customers when they return from their overseas trip. The feeling was so good and I felt touched that they actually the trouble to remember! These customers gave me the motivation to improve and work hard in my chosent line.

But then again as service employee, we do occasionally encounter customers that really go overboard with the whole customer is king/queen statement. We can tolerate rude customer (often happens to me! Such BAD LUCK!), but we'll only provide our service up to a certain level i.e. will answer in one syllable, will offer fake smile, will take no effort to get to know customer in terms of preference or even make a conversation with them. To me as long as I deliver the service "according to the book"; still polite and with a fake smile, my duty is done with these sort of customers. I'd rather spent time offering my services to customers who treat me with a little bit of respect. We as service employee don't ask much, just a simple smile, polite words and a little respect will make you the king/queen in our place!

This is not to say that I applause mistreating the customers but the fact is that there's still this mindset about service staff being "uneducated", "stupid", "don't know anything" by most of the older Asian community! This really annoys me. To me these people are the ones who are REALLY uneducated. The new generation of service staff aren't all uneducated. In fact most of us went to school and probably a few of us hold a diploma or a degree! This also not to say that we're better educated then the customers but the stereotype that service employees are receiving is downright wrong and this must change.

No doubt there will be always a few bad apples amongst the good ones; talking nonsense behind the till, being outright rude, refuse to respond to requests etc, but we also have to remember that its not always easy working (and standing for service staff) more than 8 hours straight, having to face rude customers, the pressure of being "watched" all the time by the boss and at all times to actually please customers (rude ones especially) in order to make a sale. I really think that both side of the till, employees and customers, have to change their attitude so that every one could FINALLY enjoy the servicing and buying experience!

Monday, April 17, 2006

YES, I do stitch, sew and buy!

This weekend I find myself engrossed in my cross stitching. To those of you who have known me for ages and still not know that I do stitch; NO, IT IS NOT A CRAFT RESERVED FOR GRANNIES! :)

I still miss count even after counting for several times before and while stitching! As I was happily undoing my mistakes, hubby asks me what's with the smile? Well first, I'm excited to start a project after a long (very long) absent of spare time. Second, I'm also excited to have received my floss (from eBay) after waiting for almost a week. Lastly, its something that I'd like to make as gifts for my family and friends. I really think that its so much better to give them something personalized that I make myself than to buy off the shelf. Of course you can buy off the shelf "personalized" a name but I guess its not the same as baking a birthday cake, making a card etc. I don't know how to put it in words but the feeling is different, just different....

Work in progress; gift for my soon to be born niece!

Anyways, I realized that there are some "hardware" I need as I was doing my stitching. A magnifying lens!! At our place we have soft lighting (unlike my parents' place where they opted for white/harsh lighting, according to hubby) and being "four-eyed" its not very good lighting for needlework! So finally I ordered them (online as usual) and I hope that they'll be here soon. The second thing I "think" I might need is a stitching frame. I can't stand having my cloth in rumples as I stitch the middle section of the piece. But this I'm hoping that hubby can make something for me later... I'm keeping my fingers cross for this "labour of love" by hubby.

As always, the urge to buy comes whenever I see something (or rather DROOL on) online , thanks to ladies from Malaysian Stitchers.... :-) It has really broaden my search of a good buy! As you know, us ladies will always find something to buy, be it clothing, shoes, makan, needlework charts, books etc. It really must be in our blood kind of thing and it gets contagious every so often; when a your girlfriend tells you there's a sale some where in town/online. The thing is, there's always going to have really nice stuff but I can't buy them all at once! A good plan would be making a shopping list, just in case I "forgot" what I really want and start looking at other stuff! I'm already making a shopping list (a very long list) for my next buy in fact! Let's hope my credit card will be fully rested before my next spree...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Roman getaway

The Trevi Fountain and part of the Roman Forum

Its been a great weekend for both of us. Flew over to Rome on EasyJet (the European version of AirAsia) very early on Friday morning. When I said early IT IS early! Had to crawl out of bed by 3:3am and was on the road by 4am to the Geneva airport. Took us about 45 to 50 mins drive and got to the check-in desk at 5:10 having to run (about 300 meters) from the parking to the main building. The morning temp was about 4°c, and it took us about only 5 mins run!!! For someone that do not like running, it was a record man!

The flight was ok, manage to nap from the time we took off till we landed at Rome Ciampino airport. After checking into the hotel, an expensive-to-me (!!About 120.- Euro per nite!!!) 3 star hotel near the main railway station, we manage to walk to all the way to see the Colosseum (on the right), Palatine Hill, the Spanish Steps, the Victor Emmanuel II monument, and the Trevi Fountain. We were lucky to have come this week as its Cultural Week, whereby entrance to most of the monuments around the city is free. A nice surprise for us after all. But my first impression of Rome is; dusty, dirty building ful of "taggings", F1 inspired drivers, and huge. We literally have to run crossing the road, even while on the zebra crossing!

Hubby and me on Piazza Novona

By this time, due to lack of sleep/rest on hubby's part, he's starting to get on my "happy to be here on holiday" mood. But after traveling and walking for almost 10 hours, since reaching the city at 8am, I can't blame him. But then again he shouldn't have thrown his temper by accusing me that I've not organized a well planned trip. He kept on asking me where to go and how tos. Yours truly has never been to Rome and neither does she knows what's going to happen. And what's with men and asking for directions?! Its natural to ask if one's not sure of where to go or how tos, right? So is it me or is it just the ego of my man? So we finally decide to take the Rome Metro (underground) to get back to our room, before having the "Show Down" while walking towards the station!!

View from inside the Vatican. Wasn't allowed to take more pics as cameras was forbiden in most areas as not to spoil artifacts.

Me at St. Angel's Castel

The next day we went for our Vatican City trip (pre-booked the day before, also cost us $$$$) which only lasts about 3 hours total visiting time besides having to wait in line out in the cold at 8am for 1 hour!! I can say that the Vatican trip is by far the most expensive fee we had to pay. But on this day since hubby's mood also improved (hit the sack at 10pm the night before!), we decide to walk around the Pantheon area, the Piazza Navona and discover the many other piazza charms. The Catacombs came next in our itinerary on Sunday morning. Managed to see a little of the infamous Trastevere area (for tiny streets and great restaurants).

Here we have Fried Italian rice balls. A MUST TRY!

An "eXpensIve!" boutique right at the Spanish Steps!

We never got enough of Italian ice-creams and cuisines. Its something out of this world and recommended while in Italy. Food tastes different here. I think its something to do with not being salty etc. Its a place where you can actually taste the different types of ingredients in particular dish. We did try to stay out of the main train terminal for dining and desserts. Prices are high and they are REALLY substandard places there. We compared prices by looking at their menu (commonly displayed outside). Same goes when buying ice-creams. By the end of the trip, we've only spent about 400.- Euro. Which is a surprise to me, since we've dine out (lunch, dinner and a significante amount of ice-creams) in quite nice (small ones "hidden" at tiny streets) restaurants/ice-cream shops with really great offerings! That is besides the hundreds of piazzas and churchs this city has to offer....

At St.Peter's Square

We'll love to com back to Italy sometime in the future. But the next time, I've made hubby swore that he will not throw "lack of rest tanrums" in the public. Lets hope he'll keep his promise!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring time rain...

These are some of the pics taken only this week. Or rather on Monday when we have blue skies on a not so warm yet temp.

Beautiful flowers blooming along the roadside. Scenes like this are everywhere!!

Its the totally different story today!! Its been raining non stop since this morning!! arrgghhh... Well I guess rain is good since we all here hope that its going to be a very nice and hot summer time this year. I'd love the hot weather, remains me of home... *sniff*sniff*... But at home we don't get to see sceneries like these:

Part of the Swiss Alps along Geneva Lake, still snowy on the 2nd week of spring.

One of the boat "parking spaces" near our place.
About 15 mins walk to the lake side from our place in Vevey.

Yes, you can say that I still miss home but not as much as I used to be 4 years back. Guess when you're bz doing some projects and having some friends around makes thing a lot easier as years pass by. I'm not saying that I don't want to come home, I do eventually. But until that day comes, I feel that there's so much out there for us to do and see, rather than being curled up in a corner and weep for home.

This brings something to my mind. I've been meaning to say this for a long time. I can't stand having people that compare their home country with the host country they're living in. If one has so much to say as to compare each different country, then don't live there! Go back to where you come from if you think yours are better to live in.... To me, each different place has its pros and cons, just that we have to adapt to it.

Well, I really hope that the rainy times are soon over here coz I can't stand not having to go out for a walk or being able to read a book under the sun, especially now.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Why do you have to be nasty wor?!?

To those who have been reading my posts, the ones marked as "blogged on..." was my previous blog from another blogging site, which I have to fork out $$$ every month if I want to have my stuff archived! I mean COME ON! It's really a significant amount of extra spending I'm talking about and I'm not going to fork out several hundred dollars (in USD) a year just to archive my stuff!?!? And besides I don't think I've blog enough to be spending that amount of money just to keep records....

Anyways, since I last quit my job (some shitty history lor...) and am now looking for one (been either to busy or lazy to look for steady employment!!). Its not been that easy. I've been putting away some stuff that I've been meaning to do (sewing stuff) and have been taking up one of my long forgotten skills; cross stitch! So basically, I'm now putting them all into action. That is WHEN my DMC floss arrives from UK. Bought them cheap from eBay ler... hehehehe... I mean its so much cheaper to buy off the Internet then from the Swiss shops! I will only spend less If and WHEN I could find alternative. I'm better off paying CHF55.- for about 60 skeins of thread from eBay than CHF145.- from local shops!!

So far to finance my "projects", have been taking up some side income (part-time) from freelancing with a recruiting company. So far so good... I've done some work today with a retail outlet specializing in audiovisual (selling DVD, CD, their players etc, computers and books) stuff. I can say that it was ok as far as the pay goes. Can't say the same with the staffs there. There's ALWAYS a few bad apples to spoil the entire basket isn't it.... I mean come one lar! I'm also working mar... Just explain to me what I have to do and how I have to do it will do no? I'm here working also for $$$$ and I don't need to hear your other comments besides work. I'm not asking for much am I? My question is, why most permanent staff will treat part-timers (like yours truly) like they are useless piece of junk or a door mat? We're only here for 1 day what? And may be NEXT time when it's your turn to be jobless like us, you'll have to knock on our door for work ler? Will we help you then? May be and may be not.

What's more, I think its a vicious cycle. An ever continuous cycle of "You treat me bad now, I treat you bad the next time round". Why can people understand this verb "Treat others like you want other to treat you"? Its high time to break this "tradition", otherwise I fear that there won't be a lot of nice people around doing nice things to others without expecting much of a return....

Getting hitch.. My point of view (blogged on 30/10/2005)

I've been asked many times by friends how in the world did both my husband and I got hitched the first time. For the record, we meet online. But first let me just say a big THANK YOU to ICQ! (applause pls...) Well its funny because people who ask me this question seem to be most of the time is lost in meeting that special someone....

And when they do meet someone, they'll be thinking that perhaps he/she is "THE ONE". I mean why do we have to think about this every single time we meet someone new on a date? Why do we have to judge this person by their looks, behaviour etc based on OUR criteria to find Mr. Right or Mrs. Right?

Besides do we REALLY KNOW at all how or WHATS our CRITERIA? I mean think about it? Most of the time we ladies (sorry guys! no take from men as I'm not a MAN!) base some part of our criteria on our "the only favourite" man of our life, our fathers. Look around us... Like yours truly, got hitched with a guy whose a tat bit boring (like my dad) and have few words (so that I could fill in for him!)... lol.... ahem..... May be not THAT FEW after you get to know him REALLY WELL, that is...

And then there's this talk about the "chemistry" or even "sparks" that "fly" when you meet the special someone. But what actually happens when like the olden days people don't meet face to face until their wedding night?!?! Does "sparks fly" for them as well? For which I don't think so, at all. I think these couples that did survive growing old together "grow" to love one another, through the ups and downs of life. And I really respect THAT! So I guess that being together means that we pull each other closer through the laughter and sadness, through sickness and health, for richer or poorer....

Monday, April 03, 2006

The age factor (blogged on 18/10/2005)

At times I do wonder if people thought things through BEFORE saying things out loud... Recently there's this "scenario" at my work place where I've made a comment about how people from different places celebrate their come of age birthdays. Now correct me if I'm wrong, back home (Malaysia) we celebrate our 21st birthdays rather than 18th. Now why 21st you may ask? Its because we register as voters at 21, allowed into discos/watering holes/casinos etc at 21 (well if all night spots follow this rule!) and we're treated as adults at 21 (well young adult anyways).

Now this colleague of mine from China said that well why not 18 to go to karaoke pubs/discos? Her "logic" is that teenagers at age has started working and they have the buying power. Well buying power doesn't make your age legal right? And then started this thing about religion; that's coz Malaysia is a Muslim country, they said. Well apparently in most countries legal drinking age is 18 (16 for Switzerland), consensual sex (gay or hetero) at 18 (16 in most countries e.g. UK), going into pubs etc is 18 (in all countries), joining the army at 17/18 (all countries), pornography at 18 (all countries). That makes 18 in most countries to do almost all adult stuff.

But then again we're bound to the laws of the country that we're currently living right? Personally I don't think the question of religion has any thing to do with legal age at all. Plus I don't really think that at age 16, we're rational enough to think about having sex or even to drink alcohol. Its really wayyyyyy to young. And with teenage pregnancies, drunk/drugged up teenagers, drinking to death hazards on the rise in most countries, I really think that even though there are law stating what are the legal age, what really boils down is really the way that kids are brought up that really matters. It is the parents who are responsible for the upbringing of their children. How their child approach these things/topic will really reflect on the teachings of their parents.

And buying power really have nothing to do with legal age! I may be a rich kid at 14 but its still not legal for me to get a beer then right? As far as I'm concern, religion is not on the list when they thought of legal age during the drafting of the laws.... Really, I think this age factor is a long debate...

Buying into technology (blogged on 04/10/2005)

Just recently I've got me self a new accessory i.e. new laptop.. Well sorry girls, its not a new handbag or some new make-up item like the rest of the girls around. Those stuff are expensive here and its really not worth my money to follow the trend these days. Anyways, my other IT smart half (yes I'm the dumber IT half) decide to "plug and play" the wireless set at home so I don't need to move the wires around. Nice thought no? hehehehe...

Going wireless around our apartment has so much freedom now! I mean I could even send an email while doing the "big one" in the toilet! hahaha.... Well thank goodness the other side don't have to smell what's in store from my toilet! eeiikkkssss! Now I really think that its high time that some of us heavy Internet users at home get wireless technology. What's the point of moving cables around the house when either one family member could trip and hurt themselves right?

Desktops and laptops now are so much more affordable now compared with several years ago. What I think is that with technology stuff, prices goes up once they're first launch. But times goes by (about 6 months after product launching), prices goes down as new sub-products replaces the first model.

Now its not that I'm actually encouraging people to rush out of their homes to get a new desktops/laptops with wireless connection. Its just that we as consumers most of the time scum to temptations of buying into technology features that we either don't understand or don't even use it! I am such person, thank goodness my significant other pulls me back to earth! Thanks dear! *wink *wink...

So figure out what you really need and go through the pros and cons of the said feature first BEFORE buying anything. Otherwise you'll end up with an unused advance feature item (coz you hardly ever click it on your pc) and a really big hold in your wallet!

Is there a "new life"( blogged on 22/09/2005)

Like what the title says, but this is after being married! Why do people like me wants to be married while staying single has so many advantages? Is married is where a new life actually begins like how some soapy love song goes?

For some perhaps a new life begins with graduating from uni or getting a new job for the first time, owning a new home or even actually being a first time parent. So I think being married is not necessary the beginning of a new life. To me a new life is like ditching something old (bad habits, attitude etc) and making adjustments to actually accommodate something/someone new.

I mean we could still be ourselves, right? Like still maintaining our good side of nature (walk round our own place in our underwear/naked for example!! hehehehe...) unless we actually irritate someone, spoil the entire experience or our surroundings .... But why in the first place do we want to change anyways unless its for the best right? But what does happen if we decide not to change? Would we be stuck behind? Would people around us say we're just to damn stubborn, have a 6 year old thinking or even plain old fashion? I for one has change ever since I'm living so damn far away from home, got a job and got married here. But from what I can see, I'm still me but of course with some clamping limit (that's for keeping my big mouth shut!) and not to mention am making minor adjustments in our lives for better living conditions/being together or whatever....

Well anyways, the conclusion is the we humans are an evolving species. We're a species that learn from past experiences to make our own future decisions in life. Therefore in order to actually began this so call "new dimension of life", we make sure that we make changes that suit each and every situation

Food Factors (blogged on 10/09/2005)

Its been damn long since I've eaten any really good food in restaurants (Asian in particular) here in Switzerland. I've been here for almost 5 and half years and I really find Asian food here is ma-ma-tei (as in 50-50). Nothing that really makes me actually come back for more or even remembers what it taste like. The only place that I could actually remember was when I'm in Paris once a year! That is also has something to do with MSG, I think! hehehehe... But anyways, I'm sure my hubby's relatives really know how to actually cook Vietnamese food and how it has to taste like. Unlike the one I make myself at home... Hhmm.... May be take some lessons from them huh?

But you know living overseas actually teaches one to be self reliance, especially on ones cooking abilities! I could still remember when I was living in Zurich while doing my internship for 6 whole months and during my days off I'll conduct some sort of cooking lessons for a friend of mine whom know nil about cooking. Hey! I didn't say that I'm a really good cook but at least its edible and I only taught her the basics; i.e. do not burn the food, make sure its not too salty/sweet etc. It was really fun then!

But now since I'm working full time, I really have to time to actually experiment like I used to do with "fine cuisine". Poor hubby! Awww..... sniff sniff.... I think it would be better next year since I'll be doing some adjustments to my working life! And then we'll talk more about food huh? But then again, finding ingredients here is so difficult!!! Well I guess we'll just have to adjust the recipe instead, no?

Time? Are you there? (blogged on 08/09/2005)

Well as the title said it! How many of you guys out there find yourself running out of time? I mean even on your days off? Like this week I just had my day off on Tuesday (for those who know my job; its my regular schedule), I find myself waking up at 10:30am, then have to tidy up our 1 bedroom apartment and then there's laundry etc...

When I finally have time to myself, its already 2pm in the afternoon! Mind you, I've got stuff to follow up; like emailing my friends (which most of them will get a very late reply!), calling home etc. After 2 to 3 hours of that, its already 5pm or so! Then have to make some dinner liow.... pfff..... I mean I'd like to read, but I can never find the time to actually finish up my novel and its been a month since I bought that book! Then there's some clothing alterations that I have to do BEFORE winter, which I think I'm finally getting to it next week! Hopefully though, otherwise I'll look weird with really long legs for pants! eeikkss!

Sometimes I think I should not waste this precious commodity by actually sitting in front of the "idiot box" but then again its my day off and I really much catch up with the current news (don't really read German or French THAT well yet). You know what the heck, its my day off and I just do what I feel like on that day! So BITE ME if I'm wasting time writing this and having you to read this mambo-jumbo!

To quit or not to quit... (blogged on 03/09/2005)

Well the title says it all, i guess... You know sometimes I find myself at the cross roads in life like many people I would think! Hopefully!?!

Recently I'm really thinking about quitting this job of mine. But then when I think about quitting, the next question would be where the hell am I going to get money to support my lifestyle? Mind you the life I'm leading now does cost quite a bit of bling bling! Starting from food items (What to do? I LOVE EATING!) to clothing to holidaying around the neighbourhood of Europe....

Then the next question would be; but I won't have time to finish off where I left off for my French language course and may be considering taking my Swiss driving licence IF I continue to work!? I sometimes wish that I could actually "tear" myself into two for work and study at the same time, which is BTW impossible!

This job that I'm currently working for is actually hectic and I'm stressed out as a result of not having enough rest. My hubby, my family and friends ARE literally TELLING me to dump this shitty job and work part-time some place else. Then I won't be broke, will have time to spend for study and at the same time spend time with my hubby so to say. Won't be a bad either BUT then I won't have enough money like what I'm actually getting now to spend right? hmmmmm...... Really I do think I must cut down on my spending on vintage stuff, food (junk most of the time; McDonald's!), and reading materials (as in really good read & NOT women mags!)....

Now the final problem would be, how to actually tell my bosses?! Well I really don't think THAT would be a problem if my bosses is not sick in the head most of the time, but THEY ARE SICK IN THE HEAD ALL THE TIME.. arrgghhhh WHY?!?... I will built up my courage to tell them! End of this month of course, would want a 3 months notice AND also get my year end bonus right? hehehehehe...

Work (blogged on 16/08/2005)

The one word that would send me to momentary blackout... Well, see this word could not have such less meaning unless I really like what I do or with whom am I going to work with.

Now working in my line of job requires team work and for some, strategy. So when 1 falls out of line we have to put him/her back in line or into place. Its like clockwork, if you know what I mean. That's what you do when you're the senior and mind you my ears haven't been having great time listening to complaints between management and staff alike. But then again when you do finally take action, the staff will face you with a type of "face" so black that you think the coal is a tat bit shinier! Of course management loves it when you take action. Of course it is I who have the "pleasure" of working with these "black" faces day in & day out.

So the moral of this? When you're the junior, please (I MEAN PLEASE!) do have some consideration in thinking about what you did and why it was wrong? Plus do have some consideration that the person telling you off is not (I REALLY MEAN IT) having a good time telling off as well... BUT if you're the senior; really the problem will come when your tact in telling ppl off isn't polished enough. I'm still learning this, most of the time the hard way!